June 5, 2024
by Delaney

Cracking the code: Pain Management Made Simple

Pain is a universal human experience, yet its manifestation and management vary widely depending on its type and underlying causes. Understanding the nuances of different pain categories can be pivotal in devising effective treatment strategies for individuals grappling with pain-related challenges.

From acute injuries to chronic health conditions, neuropathic discomfort to nociceptive sensations, each type of pain demands tailored interventions to alleviate suffering and restore well-being. Alongside exploring therapeutic modalities such as acupuncture and massage, we unveil lifestyle adjustments and holistic practices that can complement conventional treatments, offering a multifaceted approach to pain relief and management.

By unraveling the complexities of pain and inflammation, we empower individuals to embark on a journey towards enhanced vitality and resilience, reclaiming control over their health and quality of life. Join us as we navigate the landscape of pain management, uncovering insights, and strategies to foster healing. 

 


Types of Pain

Pain management and treatment options vary greatly on which type of pain needs attention. Solutions tend to be more long-term, while management is for the shorter term. Acupuncture can be used in any case, and is most effective when used regularly. Understanding the stages of healing can help keep track of your pain management.  

There are four major categories of pain, and understanding them can help treat it more effectively. The four groups are:

Acute Pain: Caused by injury, surgery, etc. Often cured on a shorter time scale, and utilizes heat, ice, acupuncture, or physical therapy to treat. 

Chronic Pain: Caused by existing health conditions, and involves pain levels fluctuating daily. Common conditions that can cause chronic pain include circulation problems, back pain, or migraines. These conditions can be treated with medication (either over the counter or prescribed by a doctor), acupuncture, and massage, as recommended by a doctor. 

Neuropathic Pain: Caused by nerve damage, as a result of a stroke, cancer, or diabetes. It can be treated with medication, physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage. 

Nociceptive Pain: This can be caused by tissue damage from physical injuries, such as falls or car accidents. It can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications, physical therapy, massage, and acupuncture. Severe cases may result in surgery.

One thing that can help with current pain and prevent further pain is paying attention to your circulatory system. Blocked circulation can cause imbalances in your body that can make your pain worse. Improving circulation helps re-energize your body, and helps supply your body with nutrients and oxygen, which will increase your healing rate. 

  • Here are some things that can help improve your circulation and inflammation:

- Stay Hydrated

- Eat more fruits and vegetables, and less red meat/processed foods

- Less white flour and sugars 

- Cut down or quit smoking/vaping

- Exercise regularly

- Acupuncture

- Massage

- Limit alcohol intake 

- Manage stress

- Get enough sleep 


Causes of Inflammation

Inflammation is a complex biological process response triggered by the body’s immune system in response to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, injuries, or irritants. While acute inflammation is a natural and beneficial process that helps the body fight off infections and heal injuries, chronic inflammation can become problematic and contribute to various health conditions if it persists over time. 

  • Here are some common factors and mechanisms that can lead to inflammation:
  • Infection 

Pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi can invade the body, triggering an immune response. 

  • Injury or trauma

Physical injuries, such as cuts, bruises, burns, or fractures, can damage tissues and activate the inflammatory response. 

  • Autoimmune disorders 

In autoimmune diseases, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, leading to chronic inflammation. 

  • Chronic stress 

Prolonged stress can dysregulate the immune system and promote inflammation. Stress hormones like cortisol can trigger inflammatory pathways and compromise the body’s ability to regulate inflammation effectively. 

  • Unhealthy diet 

Diets high in processed foods, refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and excessive calories can promote inflammation. 

  • Obesity 

Adipose tissues (fat cells) produce inflammatory molecules called adipokines, which can contribute to systemic inflammation. 

  • Environmental toxins 

Exposure to environmental pollutants, such as air pollution, heavy metals, and industrial chemicals, can trigger inflammatory responses in the body. 

  • Chronic diseases 

Certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, are associated with systemic inflammation. Inflammation plays a role in the pathogenesis and progression of these diseases, contributing to tissue damage and organ dysfunction.

From adopting a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits to managing stress and environmental exposures, there are various strategies available to help reduce inflammation and support optimal health.


Healthy Eating Tips to Reduce Inflammation

In general, our food choices do have an impact on our health and our diets as a whole have large effects on the levels of inflammation in the body. Therefore, to reduce inflammation, it's important to make lifestyle food choices rather than fueling the body with it. 

  • The key to anti-inflammatory eating is staying consistent and remembering that your whole diet matters. 

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables 

Having at least of ½ cup of servings each day is beneficial

  • Choose high-fiber carbohydrates 

This includes whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat products, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, farro or starchy vegetables. Some recommended starchy foods includes sweet potatoes, beets, beans, and peas. 

  • Eat more fiber 

Did you know that fiber is great for gut health. Generally, it is recommended to get about 25 grams per day (women) and 38 grams per day (men). 

  • However, there are two types of fiber. 

  • Insoluble & Soluble 

Insoluble fiber does not absorb any water and provides bulk to the stool. This helps your digestion by keeping things moving and making your bowel movements soft and easy to pass. Examples of various insoluble fiber are nuts and seeds. 

Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel. This type of fiber helps keep your bllod sugar stable after a meal and keeps you fuller for longer, making meals more yummy. Examples of soluble fibers are oats, flax or chia seeds. 

  • Choose lean animal protein sources 

Try to limit red meat and avoid processed meats and choose low-fat dairy products. 

Options for lean animal protein sources include chicken, fish or turkey

  • Reduce fat sources 

Cooking with unsaturated are not the greatest for your body. Using higher-heat cooking oils are beneficial such as sunflower oil or avocado oil. 

Stay away from trans fat such as fried foods, fatty meats, butter, coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter, processed meats 

  • Decrease Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio

Incorporating in more omega 3 rich foods is essential for your diet. Types of omega-3 foods are eggs, wild caught fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring)

Limit eating foods with omega-6 rich oils because these are ultra processed foods such as soybeans, corn, grapeseed, and cottonseed oils. 

  • Limit your sugar intake 

Limiting sugar intake is important for your health. A tip to help when the next time you are shopping are to check the labels of foods you're buying for sugar amounts. 

Avoid the following foods, soda, cereal, sweetened teas, juices, white bread, salad dressings, condiments, pasta sauces, chips, honey and maple syrups.


Beyond the Gym - Explore The Outdoors

Now is the time to get outside and get moving. If you are stiff after the long winter cooler months, here are some solutions for better mobility. 

Take advantage of the blooming flowers and lush greenery by going for nature walks or hiking trails. Walking on uneven terrain strengthens muscles, improves balance, and boosts mood. It’s a refreshing way to increase mobility while connecting with nature. 

Although, there are multiple benefits and outdoor activities to do to increase mobility. Another suggestion is to harness the rejuvenating power of spring and summer with outdoor yoga or tai chi sessions. These mind-body practices improve flexibility, balance, and posture while promoting relaxation and stress reduction. Practicing in natural surroundings enhances the experience, fostering a deeper connection with oneself and environment. 

Again, channel your energy into gardening during the warmer months. Digging, planting, and weeding are excellent forms of low-impact exercise that strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, and burn calories. Gardening also offers the added benefits of fresh air, sunlight, and a sense of accomplishment. 

  • Health Benefits of Outdoor Activities

- Vitamin D synthesis

- Improved mental health 

- Enhanced physical health 

- Connection with nature 

- Variety and enjoyment 

- Improve cardiovascular health 

- Immune system boost

- Improved concentration and creativity 

- Better sleep quality 

- Stress reduction 

- Weight management

Integrating outdoor activities into a pain management and mobility improvement regimen can provide holistic benefits for physical and mental well-being.


Massage and Acupuncture Can Help With Pain

Massage therapy and acupuncture are great compliments to your care. But did you know there are different mechanisms for why they’re effective for pain? 

Massage Therapy 

Massage helps to relax tense muscles and reduce muscle spasms, relieving pain. With consistent massage sessions, massage therapy can help improve flexibility, joint mobility, and range of motion, particularly in individuals with musculoskeletal conditions or injuries. By loosening tight muscles and enhancing tissue elasticity, massage facilitates easier movement and reduces the risk of injury. 

Acupuncture 

Acupuncture views pain as a manifestation of underlying imbalances in the body’s energy system. By addressing these imbalances through targeted acupuncture treatments, practitioners aim to alleviate pain and promote overall health and vitality. In general, acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters that have analgesic properties. These natural chemicals help to inhibit pain signals in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in pain relief. Acupuncture may also activate the body’s opioid system, which further contributes to its pain-relieving effects. 

Overall, these therapies can significantly improve your health and quality of life for those experiencing pain. 


Pain Relief Products

Evil Bone Water 

One of the most common topicals we use in the clinic is Zheng Xie Gu Shui (Evil Bone Water). Yes, the name might sound scary but trust us, this formula is super powerful and has multiple health properties that you can benefit from. 

  • Evil Bone Water Commonly used: 

- Pain relief 

- Sport injuries 

- Joint pain 

- Back pain 

- Bruising 

- Sprains 

- Broken bones 

- Cutes 

- Bug bites 

- Skin conditions 

- Muscle pain 

- infections 

  • Instructions

- Lightly moisten a cotton ball with the Evil - Bone Water or you can just spray it on 

- Apply Evil Bone Water to the affected area and either rub in or hold on the area for 2 to 5 mins 

- Do no cover with plastic, just allow to breathe 

- You should feel the relief very quickly with some tingling/numbing sensation 

- You may reapply Evil Bone Water 2 to 4x per day 

- This product is for EXTERNAL USE ONLY, should be used with care

- Do not drink the topical, you will get sick

Red Emperor Immortal Flame 

Red Emperor Immortal Flame is a powerful, warming topical solution for deep tissue relief that we use a lot in the clinic. The topical is crafted with a unique blend of organic medicinal herbs to provide fast-acting pain and long-lasting relief. 

This topical is great for chronic or acute pain.  Using this topical promotes circulation and stops pain for those suffering from arthritis, high-performance athletes, dancers, or anyone that suffers from pain. As soon as you apply a couple of drops on your skin, you will immediately feel a warming sensation when applied with a quick deep tissue massage. Red Emperor Immortal Flame recognizes the topical as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, anti-microbial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties. 

  • Ingredients: 

- Wintergreen Essential Oil 

- Organic Menthol

- Organic olive oil 

  • Instructions: 

- The ideal dosage for the topical is 6 - 8 drops per application

- There is over 1000+ drops from the single 30ml bottle, which makes it very economical. 

- This product is for EXTERNAL USE ONLY, should be used with care

- Do not wear white clothing because this topical will stain

- A little goes a long way

Red Emperor Immortal Flame has a similar smell as the product seen over the counter (Icy hot)*

References

https://www.aucmed.edu/about/blog/types-of-pain-management

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15833-neuropathic-pain

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-improve-blood-circulation-naturally

https://www.healthline.com/health/health-benefits-of-being-outdoors

https://www.healthcentral.com/pain-management/nature-as-chronic-pain-treatment

https://health.ucdavis.edu/blog/good-food/9-healthy-eating-tips-that-can-help-reduce-inflammation/2023/11